THE Fair Work ombudsman has launched legal action against the operators of four Japanese restaurants in Launceston and Devonport for alleged underpayment of staff.
Kazuhiro Kojima and Zhicheng Zhang are behind the Bento Box restaurant chain in the two cites, along with Launceston's Wan Japanese Restaurant.
The ombudsman has also launched action against the company behind Bento Kings Meadows. The two men are part- owners and directors of that company.
The ombudsman has alleged that 50 staff at the restaurants were underpaid more than $105,000 in 2010 and 2011.
The workers were responsible for food preparation, customer service, cleaning and cooking duties.
Breaches relating to the keeping of employment records and pay slips are also alleged.
Maximum penalties for each breach range up to $6600 for individuals and $33,000 for corporations.
The ombudsman is also seeking court orders for alleged underpayments of the employees to be rectified in full.
A directions hearing is listed in the Federal Magistrates Court in Hobart on February 27.
Employers and workers seeking assistance can visit www.fairwork.gov.au or call the Fair Work Infoline on 131394. For an interpreter service, call 131450.